After 100 Years, Are The Boy Scouts Still Relevant?

Scouting does so much more than teach boys how to tie knots. It sets a strong foundation for peace in the

After 100 Years, Are The Boy Scouts Still Relevant?

Just Friday, I was re-enlisted for my annual turn-folks-upside-down-and-shake-the-loose-change-free-a-thon…better known as the BSA fundraiser :smiley:

I’ve been doing this many years now, and slowly the contributions have been dwindling. Frankly, can’t blame 'em: there are lots of good after school/intramural/elective options for young men. But we’re giving money to a group that frequently has as many adult volunteers as young men participants :confused: Our parish’s troop will end this year, as a final young fellow earns his Eagle. There are no youngsters behind him.

I think it is a great organization that teaches good values. But, I think its waning popularity is a sign of the times. Co-ed events seem to be very popular. Our Parish HS and MS youth groups have grand attendance.

That won’t stop me from ringin’ everyone and asking for some dough, though :wink:

Not even the Boy Scounts can be relevant all by themselves.

Something has to be relevant TO something else.

So, just what do you think that Boy Scouts are, or should be, relevant to?

I was never a Scout, but if I recall correctly the movement actually started in Britain as a means of correcting the declining fostering of authentic manhood in boys. Manhood may have nothing to do with knots and tents, per se, but it sure has to do with setting noble goals, enduring sacrifice and hardship to achieve them and conducting oneself within a moral set of principles.

If that remains the mission then it is needed more today than ever. But when I was a kid, the typical boy scout meeting involved a bunch of boys doing whatever activity / craft the den mother of the week put together. In short, the dads out there might need this before they can give it to the kids!

Two of my friends are former Eagle Scouts, and I know both still are proud of the accomplishment, many years later. I chose sports obligations over scouting, but I definitely think it’s a worthwhile program, and if my sons want to do it some day, I’ll gladly support them any way I can.

There are people who think constant change is inevitable and good. It’s not. Consistency and stability early in life build a foundation to deal with the instabilities and problems later in life. The Boy Scouts are a great organization. They should continue since human beings are not going to change but each new generation needs to be taught and taught well.


BSA's website is:

I would say that being a Scout truly improved my leadership abilities, confidence, and skills, not to mention letting me go camping all the time :thumbsup:. Scouts get an A+ in my book for being a fun, good organization that does good things for communities and members.

That said, I know many Eagle Scouts who could have used their Eagle Scout Projects to do good things in places that really need the help, but instead did easy projects in wealthy communities that didn’t need the help. I don’t mean to knock their projects, but as good as the BSA is, I believe that more good could come out of the organization.


“After 100 Years, Are The Boy Scouts Still Relevant?”


The Boy Scouts, the Civil Air Patrol, the YMCA, PAL, sports teams, and other youth organizations/activities, help instill good societal traits in the youth…traits they will carry for the rest of their lives. They instill things like honesty, integrity, teamwork, and decent principles. IMO, they should never go out of style.

Last night I attended a celebration for the 100th anniversary of scouting. It was a really amazing get together. It helped remind me of just how much more important scouting is today. This was a troop and pack that was charted by an Optimist club. We started the night with a blessing on the food that sounded like I was in church. We said the pledge of allegiance and the emphasis put on ‘God’ was amazing.

The whole night made me realized just how important scouting was to me, and how important I hope it is to my son.

I’m certain that it’s relevant.

The gay issue really is a grown-ups issue; I doubt the boys are much concerned with it.

The big challenges are all the OTHER things boys can nowadays do. . . a plateful of sports and sports enhancement programs, out of school academic programs, electronic fun and games, etc.

This mirrors, I think, our society’s general withdrawing into an antisocial, electronic cocoon. We don’t MAKE our own fun; we expect to buy it from others.

I remember reading an article in Commonweal which posed the exact same question. Actually, the instilling of outdoor and emergency skills and patriotism remains relevant, as was stated in the liberal magazine. Scouting is great training for boys.

The article was from thirty years ago and its findings remain true today.

Some people may find this surprising but Scouting is a-political. The first long time head of the BSA was a man by the name of James West. He was a Progressive. Dan Beard and especially Ernest Seton, two of the early founders of the BSA were conservationists. Not to mention the first honorary Vice President and future honorary President of the BSA: Teddy Roosevelt.

The program is still heavily into conservation and has partnered with Leave No Trace to teach the youth of America how to take care of our natural treasures. There is nothing like taking a troop of Scouts into the wild and showing them what nature looks like up close and personal.

We teach our Scouts what Beau mentions above, plus some: woodcraft, outdoor and emergency skills, patriotism, good citizenship and leadership. It is relevant to all no matter your political leanings. You can see that by looking at those in congress who were Scouts, see the list here:

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